Multihyphenate entertainer Gloria Reuben feels lucky. She’s acted in award-winning shows like “ER” and “Mr. Robot,” while pursuing a music career.
She’s also an activist, committing her time to the global climate change crisis through her participation with The Climate Reality Project, and to human rights issues with the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.
“It is nice to keep it fresh,” says Reuben, during a recent phone interview. “I’m really happy to have been able to expand the horizon on my creative expression.”
Reuben’s music career includes being a backup singer for Tina Turner in 2000, which led her to record her solo record, Just for You. She released a jazz album, Perchance to Dream, in 2015 on MCG Jazz. She is promoting Perchance to Dream with her first musical performance in Phoenix—at the Musical Instrument Museum.
“I have a number of very good friends who live in Phoenix,” Reuben says. “It’s going to be a celebratory night. My birthday is the night before. I’ll be carrying on the celebration. I won’t be able to celebrate too much on the night. But it’ll be a fun night at the MIM for sure.”
Her set will be a combination of standards with different arrangements to a couple of her original tunes. Reuben will also perform a few songs at the piano.
“I like doing a little bit of narration, too,” she says. “I have to say I feel like in everything I do I’m a storyteller—but there’s not too much talking. Don’t worry. There will be some anecdotes and such that’ll tie the songs together.”
One of those originals is “Poor Girl,” a Maya Angelou poem set to music. The music was written by Jay Ashby, the brother of Marty Ashby, who is leading her quartet at the MIM.
The other song is “When I Close My Eyes,” which she calls “more upbeat” and “feisty.”
Reuben, who, at the time of the interview, was admittedly exhausted, enjoys being busy with all of her projects.
“For me, I’m happiest when I’m busiest creatively,” she says. “That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m working for money. But if I’m being creatively busy, that’s a good thing.”
Gloria Reuben and the Marty Ashby Quartet, Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, 480.478.6000, mimmusictheater.themim.org, 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 10, $38.50-$43.50.